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May 30, 2015

PROMOTION = Act of raising in rank or position. Encouragement of the progress, growth, or acceptance of something. The advancement of some enterprise.

In our public education system, the students are usually enrolled in school from pre-school to the twelfth grade. With each grade, the curriculum becomes more difficult, and  to get promoted to the next grade the student must study, do the work and pass the given test. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. God allows us to grow, learn, and experience testing. He promotes us according to His will and not ours for He knows when we are qualified. Today, many ministers and ministries are suffering because their movement and elevations were orchestrated by man. We want success without the work, but if we study the scriptures, we will find this quote to be true, “God does not make leaders first, He makes servants and servants become leaders.”

Today’s blog is about a servant who was promoted to a leadership position. This servant was the Prophet Elisha, and we will examine his life and initiation into ministry. Our first introduction to Elisha is found in 1 Kings 19:16b in this statement that God made to Elijah, “And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.” God had predestined Elisha to be a prophet in Israel, but first, He provided him with training via servanthood. Commentaries vary in the amount of time Elisha was with Elijah, but most concur that it was between six to eight years. Nothing is recorded about the kind of service that Elisha provided for Elijah except in 1 King 19:21 where it stated Elisha ministered unto Elijah and 2 Kings 3:11 where one of the kings of Israel’s servants described Elisha as the person which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

After receiving the above direction from God, Elijah went to Abel Meholah where he found Elisha plowing with twelve yokes of oxen, and as he passed by him, he cast his mantle upon him. Please note that Elisha was not a lazy individual; Elijah found him doing manual labor. Elisha’s family was wealthy, and they had servants but rather than be idle Elisha worked with the servants. Elisha was willing to follow Elijah, but first, he went and told his parents goodbye and had a farewell feast for family and community. This also expresses his work ethic, he did not just pick up and leave, but he shared his exit plan with those in authority.

The years of servanthood were silent; however, they apparently had a profound effect on Elisha for on the day of Elijah’s departure from the earth which is the next time we hear about Elisha, he requested a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. This event is found in 2 Kings 2, which describes the day when Elijah is translated into heaven by a whirlwind, and Elisha becomes his spiritual successor.

This day starts with them leaving Gilgal and going to Bethel and from Bethel to Jericho and then to the Jordan River where they crossed over to the other side. At each of these places: Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho, Elijah told Elisha to remain there; however, Elisha repeatedly replied, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” Also, the local prophets in Bethel and Jericho told Elisha, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head today?” and he told them, “Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.” Elisha was determined not to allow the remarks of men to deter him from accompanying Elijah to the end of his earthly existence.

After crossing the Jordan River on dry ground the Bible best describes their interaction and Elijah’s translation, “ And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.” (2 Kings 2:9-14)

Elisha requested the blessing of the firstborn, a double portion blessing and it is assumed that since the Bible records eight miracles performed by Elijah and sixteen performed by Elisha that his request for a double portion was granted.

During this last day, Elisha voiced what he had been living with Elisha: commitment, loyalty, and servanthood. He had been faithful, observant, and trustworthy. The time he spent with Elijah was precious, and he did not treat it lightly. He watched and learned. He did not attempt to become grand, and neither did he move out on his own, but he bided his time.

Today, we can thank God for the example of Elisha for it reveals to us some essential characteristics that all leaders need to be promoted from a servant to a leader, and truthfully speaking a good leader is always a servant.

From → Test Series

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